Came the dawn : memories of a film pioneer (1951)

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veneration and respect as one of the most amazingly clever people of our time. Reggie Sheffield, under the film name of Eric Desmond, was cast for the part of the young Copperfield in the early part of the film, but direction failed there, for he too often looked at the camera or the producer when he was spoken to. Either of these faults should be the instant signal for the retaking of the scene. There is no excuse for not doing that. Reggie played in several other films for us before returning, to my sorrow, to his native America and he did not again repeat those faults. I hear that he now has a son exactly like he was at that age, playing at present in 'Tarzan 5 pictures. 'Copperfield' was another success in spite of the great difficulties of dealing with such a complicated and diffuse story, and it was followed by others of the same line which I will mention as I come to them. In the meantime there was The Vicar of Wakefield which Blanche Macintosh cleverly adapted for me in August, 1913. It was a very pleasant little picture of gentle people with no great strength of incident. She also made a very good adaptation a few months later of The Heart of Midlothian which was well acted and well received, and then the same lady branched off on her own account with an original scenario specially written for us, with a skilful eye upon the histrionic material available in our stock- company. This was called Time, the Great Healer, and it was played by Alma Taylor, Tom Powers, Stewart Rome, Chrissie White and Violet Hopson, the very cream of the company. It was a pleasing story on somewhat conventional lines, but none the worse for that, and it gave ample opportunity for the various players to exploit their strongest capabilities to the best advantage. Tom Powers came over from America at the suggestion of Larry Trimble who very strongly recommended him to me as a most useful actor of the type which was called on the stage at that time, 'juvenile lead.' Larry thought that both he and I might use him with great advantage. He was indeed an exceedingly nice boy who acted well and proved a valuable acquisition to our company of players. He had a much more powerful part in Morphia which was written for him by the same lady and produced by me. I remember it most for the fact that I was able to obtain without difficulty from a local chemist, a tube containing a considerable quantity of morphia tablets, so that the film might be as accurate 126